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Sun Aug 16, 2015, 12:17 AM

New Label Defends Family Farming in Argentina [View all]

By Fabiana Frayssinet, IPS News

It’s pouring rain in the capital of Argentina, but customers haven’t stayed away from the Bonpland Solidarity Economy Market, where family farmers sell their produce. The government has now decided to give them a label to identify and strengthen this important segment of the economy: small farmers.

“Our vegetables are completely natural. They are grown without toxic agrochemicals,” farmer Norma Araujo told IPS. She is a member of the Florencio Varela Family Farmers Cooperative, which also sells chicken, eggs, pigs, and rabbits. Across from Araujo’s stand, Analía Alvarado sells honey, homemade jams, cheese, seeds with nutritional properties, natural juices, olive oil, whole grain bread, organic yerba mate – a traditional caffeinated herbal brew – and dairy products. “The idea is to give small farmers a chance, and here we have people from all around the country, who wouldn’t otherwise have the possibility of selling their goods,” Alvarado said.

The Ministry of Agriculture took another step in that direction with the creation in July of the “Produced by Family Farms” label, “to enhance the visibility of, inform and raise awareness about the significant contribution that family farms make to food security and sovereignty.” According to the ministry, there are 120,000 family farms in this country of 43 million people, and the sector is “the main supplier of food for the Argentine population, providing approximately 70 percent of the daily diet.”

In the category of family farmers the government includes peasants, small farmers, smallholders, indigenous communities, small-scale fisher families, landless rural workers, sharecroppers, craftspeople, and urban/suburban producers. In his interview with IPS, Family Agriculture Program Director Raimundo Laugero said the label will not only identify products as coming from the family agriculture sector, but will “guarantee health controls, chemical-free and non-industrial production, as well as production characterized by diversity - unlike industrial farming.”

Laugero noted that besides accounting for 20% of agricultural GDP, family farming in Argentina represents 95% of goat products, 22% of cattle products, 30% of sheep products, 33% of honey, 25% of fruit, 60% of fresh vegetables, and 15% of grains.

“But that doesn’t always translate into profits,” he said. “We need to work hard on those aspects so that income also ends up in the hands of family farmers.”

At: http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/08/new-label-defends-family-farming-in-argentina/

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Reply New Label Defends Family Farming in Argentina [View all]
forest444 Aug 2015 OP
Judi Lynn Aug 2015 #1